It has been nothing short of a remarkable season from Oklahoma City Thunder star guard Russell Westbrook as he has been on a record-setting pace averaging a triple-double, putting him squarely in the mix for the MVP award.
In light of that, Westbrook recorded his 40th triple-double of the season on Sunday while surpassing the 15,000 career points mark. Following this latest achievement from Westbrook, which tied him with James Harden for the league lead with seven triple-double with at least 40 points, underplayed the significant of the major career mark, according to ESPN.
“No, it doesn’t,” Westbrook said. “But it’s definitely something that I won’t take for granted. To be able to play this game for long enough to do that is a blessing in itself.”
It was Russell Westbrook’s sixth straight triple-double while becoming the first player to record five straight triple-doubles, scoring at least 30 points in each contest.
Westbrook is the first player in NBA history with five consecutive games with a 30-point triple-double, per Elias.
— Royce Young (@royceyoung) April 2, 2017
Russell Westbrook is currently leading the league with 31.9 points while being third with 10.4 assists, and 11th with 10.5 rebounds per game. If Westbrook finishes this season averaging a triple-double, he would join Hall of Famer Oscar Roberston as the only players in league history to reach that mark.
Russell would also be the first to average more than 30 points and 10 rebounds since Hall of Famer Karl Malone did that in the 1989-90 season. Additionally, Russell Westbrook would be the first to average more than 30 points and 10 assists since Tony Archibald did so in the 1972-73 season. Westbrook is also the first to have multiple streaks of at least six games with triple-doubles.
Russell Westbrook’s 40th triple-double now puts him within just one short of tying Robertson for the all-time single-season mark with about two weeks of the regular season remaining with the Thunder currently holding the 10th-best record in the NBA. In fact, Westbrook is only 11 rebounds and 29 assists away from ensuring that he averages a triple-double for this season.
Russell Westbrook needs 37 PTS, 11 REB & 29 AST over the next 6 games to average 30/10/10 on the season. pic.twitter.com/uUkkRPoGtG
— NBA.com/Stats (@nbastats) April 2, 2017
Russell Westbrook has been absolute statistical tear statistically this season, breaking numerous franchise and NBA records. This includes tying the Thunder record with 58 points on March 7 against the Portland Trail Blazers that also made him the first player to score 40 or more in four consecutive games since former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant accomplished that feat during the 2011-12 season.
Along with that, Westbrook last Wednesday recorded the first triple-double without missing a field goal or a free throw against the Philadelphia 76ers. Westbrook’s 57 points scored in a triple-double effort against the Orlando Magic on the following night where the highest point total in that type of performance in NBA history in a single game.
Russell Westbrook, against the Lakers on Feb. 24, became the third player in the last 40 years to notch at least 17 points, 17 rebounds, and 17 assists in a single game. Westbrook joined exclusive company alongside Hall of Famer Magic Johnson and Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo. Westbrook has put up 40 or more points in three straight games twice this season, making his just one of four players to do that since the NBA-ABA merger joining Bryant, Moses Malone, and Michael Jordan.
That said, Russell Westbrook has stiff competition for the MVP award with it likely coming down between himself and Harden, who is currently second in the NBA in scoring, averaging 29.2 points, first with a career-high 11.2 assists along with 8.1 rebounds per game. He is also closing in on joining Robertson as the only player in league history to put up at least 28.0 points, 11.0 Assists, and 7.0 rebounds in a single season.
Harden has etched himself alone in the NBA record books as being the only player to record 2,000 points, 900 assists, and 600 rebounds all in the same season. He has also recorded 20 triple-doubles that include leading the league with 60 double-doubles. Harden has done this while pushing the Rockets to the third-best record in the league.
All in all, it could come down to the final stretch of the season to decide the winner of the prestigious MVP award that may ultimately be decided between James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
[Featured Image by John Raoux/AP Images]